I've changed disks in my ESXi server and am hoping for some advice about the config I now have. After a bit of trouble with block sizes, the extra partitions I used to have (for scratch etc.) are no longer there and I'm trying to work out where the different volumes in use are physically located.

Specifically, I'm worried that it's using a ram disk for one or more of them as my memory usage with no VMs running is over 900MB of the host's 4GB.

How do I find out?

Additional info:

  • ESXi (4.1u1) is now installed to a 2 GB USB stick (was on a disk before)
  • 4 volumes (i.e. GUIDs in /vmfs/volumes) are available
  • Sym-links map the volumes to Hypervisor[1-3] and my datastore
  • ... and in '/', the Hypervisor volumes are sym-linked respectively to
    • altbootbank
    • bootbank
    • store & locker (same volume)
  • 'scratch' seems to have settled down to a .locker folder on the datastore I created
  • My hardware is on the ESXi HCL (With the probable exception of the drives, although presumably the Dell SAS 6/iR RAID controller ESXi sees is supported),

Any help gratefully received!

Edit: config not remembered

I've just restarted the machine and it's forgotten all the VMs (the inventory has gone back to a list of "Unknown" entries, which was what happened to the VMs when I removed the old datastore). So my Scratch is not persisting, even though it looks like it's configured to be stored on disk.

2 Answers 2


Hypervisor volumes are just partitions on the USB stick. You can see their location by running

vmkfstools -P /vmfs/volumes/Hypervisor1

And to see everything about storage on the host (more than you'll ever want to know), run

esxcfg-info -s

As to the memory utilization, just run esxtop and hit "m" to see what's using it.

  • Thanks, ynguldyn, this is really useful. I'd assumed that at least some of the hypervisorX partitions would be on the USB stick and this (and you) have confirmed that to be the case. Most of the memory seems to be allocated to the kernel (845 MB). Presumably if any of this was a ramdisk, it would show up as a differenet process? May 18, 2011 at 17:16
  • That's all hypervisor memory consumption. If you want to reclaim some of that, check out vm-help.com/esx40i/memory_allocation.php May 19, 2011 at 3:38
  • Thanks v. much - all your help has been concise and really useful. VMVisor has reserved 611MB of mem, which seems like a lot but I know where it's gone now and I can tweak it if I need some back May 19, 2011 at 9:07

Firstly I don't understand exactly what you mean by you've "changed disks", can you explain this more clearly please.

Secondly I don't understand why you're getting so deep into this unless you intend to boot from USB/SD and have your swap on some other storage, possibly DAS.

If you do have some other storage, especially DAS, I'd be tempted to boot from that and set that as your swap. I'd also say that you could worry less about your swap and more about the memory in your system compared to the sum total of your VMs (minus shared memory of course), this can be managed perfectly well with the VSClient rather than via the CLI.

Basically I don't know what you're trying to achieve here but I suspect whatever it is can be done easier by design than this way.

  • I'm trying to achieve two things: a well-running system and an education. The machine is standalone (i.e. all storage is DAS) and by changed disks, I mean I swapped out a pair of 750GB SATA drives for a pair of 2TB SATA drives (both RAID 1) and copied the data across (using the datastore browser). May 18, 2011 at 16:52
  • But if you have a pair of local disks why don't you just install ESXi on those? that way it's setup optimally and is pretty self managing?
    – Chopper3
    May 18, 2011 at 16:54
  • Oh, and yes, I am booting from USB. With hindsight this might not have been the best route to go down, but I've got my VMs migrated and running now on a RAID volume with one partition and no free space, so unless there's a major reason to undo this, I'm stuck with it! Incidentally, this is ESXi free - it's not a production system and there's no budget for vSphere tools! May 18, 2011 at 16:55
  • This is how I had the old disks set up. Next time, I'll do it that way again! I set out with the intention of physically separating the hypervisor installation from the datastore. I also had a problem removing the automatically created datastore which had a smaller blocksize than I wanted and I think this nixed a couple of partions I should have been more diligent about retaining. May 18, 2011 at 17:01

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